If only a few files are stored in a folder, it’s probably relatively easy for you to find what you need—and this may be the case for a few thousand files in a hierarchical file system as well. But if you’re talking about tens of thousands of files, or even millions of files, with many more being added each day, then storing a file in the wrong place in the hierarchy can make information practically impossible to find. The answer to such a problem is metadata, which literally means data about data. SharePoint 2010’s new Managed Metadata service is the core of many of the ECM improvements. By attaching metadata to content, you can use the metadata to organize, index, and navigate to content automatically.For now, it’s enough to know that metadata is an essential part of content management.
Configuring the Managed Metadata Service
The Managed Metadata Service can be configured as follows:
The lowest level of metadata definition is the term, which is a tag for all intents and purposes. Terms can be hierarchically organized, as illustrated. Moving up from the term is the term set, which groups terms into a logical set. One common use for a term set is to provide a list of possible options; as shown in the illustration, the Page Types term set lists possible terms for page types. Term sets come in two types: open, in which users can add terms, and closed, in which all terms are predefined by a user with appropriate permissions. By using these different types, you can create taxonomies or folksonomies.
Managed Metadata Field
Taxonomies and folksonomies are covered in detail in Chapter ; for now, however, you should know that a taxonomy is a well-defined categorization scheme that can usually be changed only by administrative users, whereas a folksonomy is a loosely defined scheme that can be changed by users of the system. Let’s look at how this data can be captured as part of our content creation process. The primary user interface for capturing metadata published using the Managed Metadata Service is the Managed Metadata field. By default, all content types that are derived from the Page content type include a Managed Keywords field that makes use of the Managed Metadata field type.
NOTE :The Managed Keywords field is actually provisioned by a hidden taxonomy feature, which should be enabled by default. However, at the time of writing, on SharePoint 2010 Beta 2, in certain circumstances the feature isn’t enabled and therefore the column isn’t available. To remedy this problem, you can manually enable the feature using PowerShell.
To illustrate the use of the Managed Metadata field, we’ll create a new blank site.
In addition to being able to define metadata manually for content, you can configure default metadata based on the location to which content is saved. For example, a document library may contain folders for a number of customers. When a document is stored in a particular folder, it may be desirable to attach a customer reference by default.
Filing hierarchies are great if you’re dealing with only a few items, but they’re not so good as the number of items increases. Unfortunately, the hierarchy has to get more and more complicated to enable things to be found. For example, you could start off with a folder named Customers, with subfolders for each customer. In each customer subfolder, you could store all correspondence for a given customer. This works well if you need to store only a few documents, but what happens over time when the aggregate volume of correspondence increases? The typical answer is to create date folders within the customer folder. But what if the volume within a particular time period is still too high to make it easy to find what youneed? You could again subdivide the time period or maybe create subfolders for each type of correspondence. possible to find content. As they get more complicated, they become more targeted to a particular search approach. In our example, what would happen if we wanted to retrieve all the sales invoices created on a particular day for all customers? With the current folder structure, this would be possible, but not exactly the most efficient content management mechanism. At this point, the answer may be to create a new hierarchy that is easier to understand, which is no mean feat by any measure, and is still targeted to a particular search approach. The answer to this dilemma is to create many virtual hierarchies, each targeted to a particular search context. By using the Metadata Navigation functionality in SharePoint 2010, creating virtual hierarchies is a straightforward affair. Before Metadata Navigation can be used, it must be enabled for a site.
By configuring Metadata Navigation for our document library, a hierarchy browser is now visible on the left side of the page. From the hierarchy, we can select from the list of folders or the Managed Metadata terms that we specified for the Document type field. Also, by adding Created By as a Filter Field, we can enter a username to show only the documents that were created by a particular user. Combining these two techniques makes it easier to find data using a combination of virtual hierarchies and filtering.
Another use for metadata is to organize content automatically. One of the problems of a hierarchical filing system is that documents must be placed in the correct place for the system to work. By defining rules that determine where a document should be saved, the Content Organizer feature in SharePoint 2010 allows users to save all content to a drop-off location; SharePoint will automatically route it to the correct place. To configure the Content Organizer feature, take the following steps:
To see our rule in action, navigate to the automatically created Drop-Off Library, and then create a new document by selecting New Document from the Document tab on theribbon. Enter some sample text and a Title for the document, and then, in the Managed Keywords text box, enter the Product Description term. Save the document to the library. Notice that as each document is being saved, the status messages in Word indicate that the Content Organizer is processing. Once the save process has completed, the final location of the document will be shown in the Location text box at the upper-right corner of the Document Information panel:
In SharePoint 2007, the recommended maximum number of items in a single folder was 2000, and while the recommended maximum number of documents in a single library was 5 million, achieving this limit could really be done only by having multiple nested folders of around 2000 documents each. With SharePoint 2010, some practical limitations still exist regarding what can be done in lists and libraries, but these limits have been increased significantly. For example, the maximum number of items that can be shown in a single view is now 5000 instead of 2000, and the maximum number of documents in a library has doubled to 10 million.Furthermore, with thoughtful use of metadata, your focus on creating a perfect document hierarchy isn’t such a critical issue to the design of a SharePoint solution. Achieving a document library with many millions of items is much easier in SharePoint 2010. The number of items that can be displayed in a view has increased to 5000, and by using metadata navigation, you don’t need to create myriad folders just to stay within the 5000-item limit.
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